It’s Saturday Night and the Sydney Seafood School foyer is filling with people. There are some simple smoked salmon on crostini canapés and a selection of Australia red or white wine. We chat till the noise in the room reaches an almost deafening level. With over 45 people drinking eating and getting to know each other, this could be any successful party, but this is the Sydney Seafood school. We are welcomed and soon seated in a class room style auditorium facing our demonstrator whose name tonight is Vini. Our wine has been confiscated and we are now going to watch and learn before cooking and we won’t get our wine back until we have cooked and safely stowed our knives and other dangerous cooking equipment.
I know that some people like to go out on the town on a Saturday night, but for me this is perfect. I guess I’m not alone because there is a lot of people here. I received an invitation along with two of my friends from work at Lario Wine and Food, because we often supply the classes with Italian ingredients.
Tonights’ class is called “Fast and Fabulous” and we arrive for a 7pm start. The demonstration will run for about 3/4 of an hour before we move onto the kitchen. So if you need to eat early have a snack before you go. Vini gives us a bit of a lecture on buying the best. My advice is always try to buy the best quality you can afford. Attempt to think about seasonal ingredients and ones that are fresh and sustainable. Always try to buy from a farmer or producer if you can. It all helps. Don’t beat yourself up if you live somewhere you can’t source these kind of ingredients or your budget won’t allow, we all do what we can, point taken Vini.
The work benches in the kitchen accommodate up to six people. If you want to book as a group of 6 a discount is available. We were allotted a bench with a couple of fellas who booked together as a birthday excusion. You can tell there a few nerves as everyone files into the kitchen and stands at the benches. There is no need to worry though, as there are 2 assistants plus Vini to help with any questions. The kitchen isn’t bright and intimidating it has downlights over the benches that highlight the dark walls covered in white chalk style drawings. There are no ugly fluorescent strip-lights, and lots of room between each bench.
Everyone puts their heads together and we divide up some of the tasks between each of us. There are 3 dishes. And I get in trouble from one of my friends for being a bit of a Gordon Ramsay wanting to get things done (this will be no surprise to some) so, although I have a habit for speed cooking, I step back and just enjoy watching every one cook and look forward to eating the mound of prawns we have been given to whip into a stir fry.
The recipes are simple and use interesting ingredients. They are cooked up quite easily and with enough time to spare. The dining room next door has 10 tables. Each group is responsible for setting their own table and while the others finish the cooking I set our table with the things provided.
We are of course, all encouraged to clean up by dumping all our dirty dishes in big trolley’s. You didn’t think we had to do the dishes did you? After cleaning down our benches and plating up our dishes we head to the dining room to enjoy our dinner
Crab Cakes with fresh horseradish dressing. A simple combination of already picked Queensland spanner Crab, breadcrumbs and egg.
We chatted over a few glasses of wine while we ate dinner with rice provided. This kind of class costs about $120.00 per person with everything included.
I have chosen a recipe from The Seafood Schools Fishline website. I changed it to suit my taste by adding a bit of lemon and ginger, however it’s a great Summer recipe that you should be able to throw together in less than 20 minutes. Give this recipe a go and see what you think. I added chilli. Prawns make such a quick cooking meal any time of the year.
- 500g approx broccolini or broccoli
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 sliced chilli (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 750g green prawns, peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 red capsicum, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons of water
- Steamed rice, to serve
- 1 bunch coriander
- Trim the ends off the broccolini stalks, cut into florets and slice stalks on the diagonal.
- Combine garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a large bowl and mix well. Add prawns and leave to marinate for up to 30 minutes.
- Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp oil, onion, capsicum and broccolini and stir-fry for 2 minutes, till just atarting to soften. Remove vegetables and set aside. Add prawns to wok with remaining 1 Tablespoon oil, reserving marinade and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until they just start to colour. Return vegetables to wok, add reserved marinade, lemon and water and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils. Add ¼ bunch chopped coriander
- Serve immediately with steamed rice.
For more prawn recipes try HERE or the new Sydney seafood school cookbook